It is hard to have an opinion about Miss Shampoo because the intentions of the writers are rather unclear. They could not have wanted to make a good movie if this is the manner of storytelling they chose. The humor, especially, has us doubting whether someone wanted to be funny or make the audience cringe.
Usually, the art reflects the sensibilities of the artist, so we are wondering whether the ridiculous exaggeration of the toilet humor was the writer’s intention. At one point, we even wondered whether the film was a poor attempt at parody but eventually realized that it was simply poor. We, as the audience, were so desperate to give it a chance that we looked for hints that Miss Shampoo is simply one of those movies that are so bad that they turn out to be good. But even that was too much of an ask.
Miss Shampoo is the story of a gangster who falls in love with a hairstylist, who protects him from some people intent on taking his life. For fans of mafia romance, this is always an exciting premise, no matter how cliche it gets. That was precisely our expectation—something cliche and sweet. There were no high hopes, no expectations for anything out of this world, or even a believable or endearing storyline. We just wanted to watch a film about gangsters being silly and stupid in love, as part of the guilty pleasure of Wattpad fantasies. It should have been the easiest thing to do for anyone. Yet, someone, or maybe everyone on the writing team, was making fun of us.
The movie follows the pattern of the gangster falling in love and proving himself to be better than the existing boyfriend, only for the couple to break up later because of his job, which ends in a reconciliation when he leaves behind his big, bad world for the sake of his lady love. Every single turn of the story was predictable, but that is not the complaint. It is the way that was presented. First of all, nobody in the film is particularly bright except a guy named ‘Long Legs.’ Secondly, the editing of Miss Shampoo is simply terrible. Most times, we are left with no idea how the scenes jump from one point to another. Lastly, we get that it is a silly story, but would it have killed to find a couple with chemistry? We are dedicating two hours (the runtime of the film) to ignoring the joke that is being played on us because we are hopeless romantics who will ship anything that hints at a love story. Wasn’t it the audience like us that was being considered to be the primary target of the film, because why else would anyone watch this? In such a case, shouldn’t the chemistry between Fen and Tai have been more believable? They feel like good friends and not a couple in love.
When watching Miss Shampoo, we were reminded of a few Indian films, specifically the ‘Housefull’ franchise. The first film was the kind that was so bad that it was good, and the rest were just bad. Surprisingly, these are also films that turn out to have some of the biggest budgets of the year and often boast an impressive star cast. Our understanding of Miss Shampoo comes from a comparison of the film with this Indian franchise. There are no rules or hard intentions when it comes to these films. They are made to stroke the egos of people with money and certain sensibilities, who are usually the makers of the stories, and no matter the criticism that comes their way, there is no stopping or changing the crass jokes that are an integral part of these movies. Maybe the writers of Miss Shampoo and Housefull can get together for dinner and jokes. Only they will be laughing.
There is a scene in Miss Shampoo where Tai goes to Fen’s house to spend the night, and he has to pass the tests of her family members before getting to her room. Fen’s mother touches Tai’s private parts in an effort to judge and lecture him about what he should be doing with her daughter. Tai is also ready with some ‘German tech’ on his body to ensure that he does well. We want to know whose idea of humor this was. Why did nobody notice how degrading this was? Additionally, the scene where someone named Fishy was forcing Fen’s colleague to name his body part was sexual harassment, just like what Fen’s mother did to Tai. Who in the writing room decided that this scene would have the audience cackling with glee? More than that, who was the target audience? It couldn’t have been the ‘hopeless romantics’ that we were thinking of previously.
The problem is that even if we decided to look past the irritating humor, why was the rest of the story so senseless? It isn’t a secret that they break up and reconcile in the movie, so there is no spoiler, but couldn’t the reasons for these events be more meaningful? These two events happened in the last 45 minutes of the film, which means that the audience had already been sitting through the first hour and a quarter. Either the writers gave themselves the challenge to see if they could annoy us more at this point, or they simply gave up and assumed that if we had watched till this point, we would watch it till the end. Sadly, they were right.
As much as we criticize this film, it is undeniable that we signed up for it. Nobody could have expected that it would be so bad, but upon further introspection, did it promise to be good? It turns out that it does. We watched the trailer for the film after the actual film, and yes, it promised to be very fun, sweet, and exciting. But again, we knew it was a joke within the first ten minutes of the runtime, so maybe we are to blame after all for sticking with it till the end. The only good thing about the movie are the actors who play Tai and Long Legs, especially the latter, who executes his role as the voice of reason in a madhouse with perfection. The rest can just be applauded for their commitment to a film we doubt they themselves like.